If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know about the variety shows staged to entertain the passengers.
A little song, a little dance, plus few jugglers, acrobats and comedians trying to defy the sometimes stormy seas and sometimes stupefied audiences.
“Opium” may be set aboard a spaceship, but the usual rules apply — with a raunchy, rockin’ Vegas twist.
Now open after almost of a month of previews at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the new show from the Spiegelworld folks who brought you the long-running “Absinthe” serves up a deliberately off-kilter space spoof along with the jugglers and acrobats.
It also serves up an array of neon-glow, pre-show “Spocktails” — including Kiss My Asteroid and the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster — that may help “Opium’s” goofy, rim-shot humor go down a little easier. (For those over 21, that is; the show itself is for those 18 and older.)
The Spocktail menu comes on a scratch-off card with such advisories as “Scratch Uranus,” previewing “Opium’s” prevailing humor — and its literal starting point.
We’re aboard the OPM 4.2, an orbital people mover traveling from Uranus to Las Vegas.
It’s a “close encounter with a spaceship of fools,” as “Opium’s” promotional materials promise — and as the show’s cheeky cast demonstrates when they boogie onto a circular stage to such vintage extra-terrestrial tunes as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and “Shining Star.”
The latter’s disco-era origins seem particularly appropriate for resident chanteuse Dusty Moonboots, who’s introduced as the “Celine Dion of Uranus” but more closely resembles Cher decked out in spangly, over-the-top costumes that wouldn’t look out of place during “Folies Bergere’s” Bob Mackie era. (If only I could credit the many “Opium” talents, onstage and off, but there’s no program telling you who’s who.)
The OPM’s top two officers are Captain Ann Tennille (equipped with a surly, Soviet-era “moose and squirrel” accent) and Lt. Lou Tennant, who channels his inner Freddie Mercury while juggling and riding his unicycle — to, inevitably, “Bicycle Race.” Their names give you some idea of “Opium’s” idea of clever.
Also aboard: cheerful, can-do cadet Chip; his pal Rob the Robot, whose ancestors were once humble Roomba vacuum cleaners; Dr. Roger Regis, who’s not only the ship’s doctor but an amateur magician, assisted in both by bombshell nurse Raquel; cruise director Leslie, who describes herself as “the perfect amount of slutty”; and engineer Scottie, who not only knows his way around the ship’s plumbing but spins multiple hula hoops in hopes of winning employee of the month honors away from Sputnik, the captain’s reputedly vicious pet Chihuahua.
Sputnik later shows up in an acrobat act — and it says something when his antics get at least as big a reception as the cheeky sword swallower, the sinuous acrobat who dances with (and is eventually engulfed by) a giant balloon and the frenzied humans who turn masticated bananas into projectiles.
It’s all good dirty fun, if somewhat random and — dare we say it? — spacey. But there’s a galaxy-sized gap between a blast-off and a blast, and “Opium” never quite achieves out-of-this-world orbit.
When: 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Where:The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S.